Judge Timothy Volkmann denies dismissal for ‘final four’ in River Street bank occupation

NOTES  BY NORSE:   Former Santa Cruz Eleven defendant and photojournalist Alex Darocy covered the hearing below at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/12/18733496.php?show_comments=1#18733512 .  I presented my own take with links to the motions filed to dismiss at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/07/18733298.php .

Regarding the trespass charge, it was selectively enforced and seemed to be done as a political sop to anti-Occupy authoritarians as well as a form of  SCPD face-saving.  Plus it seemed a pretty convenient opportunity to go after activists long-publicly critical of police misconduct and alternative media whistleblowers.  If there was a real concern about “trespass”, it should have been a timely bust, done within 24 hours of the occupation and uniformly applied to everyone there.  Clearly this was a combination of tokenism, scapegoating, and intimidation against other direct action critics of Wells Fargo and large corporate criminals.
Free  speech and free assembly considerations also play a significant role–not to mention the community reality that the building was long-vacant (and has remained so).  Prosecutions in a dozen other cities have led to acquittals or been dropped for similar occupations.  First Amendment protections are an explicit part of the 602 trespass statute which were ignored (by both prosecution and defense).
In terms of harm-reduction, the vacant bank could have provided shelter for a population that has a far higher death rate than the terrified mob that shows up at City Council ranting about needles, drug addicts, the homeless, and “crime”.

Regarding the “felony vandalism” charge, prosecution witnesses agreed there was zero evidence of explicit documented vandalism by any of the four (not to mention the eleven originally charged).    Nor were any vandals identified.

The discredited assistant D.A. pursuing this case (Rebekah Young) was already sanctioned $500 for repeatedly violating court orders and keeping evidence from the defense.

To justify this  prosecution, Young presented a tenuous torturous “aiding and abetting theory” which suggested “aiding and abetting the trespass” meant that the “natural and probable” vandalism consequences made the defendants responsible for $23,000 in vandalism and subject to 4 years in prison. 

Defense attorneys pointed out that courts have never ruled that vandalism is a “natural and probable” consequence of the crime of trespass. This is a novel new doctrine apparently trotted out to respond to the lynchmob mentality stalking Santa Cruz (which masquerades as some kind of public safety “protection”). Or perhaps for D.A. Young to magically transform a discredited prosecution into a “win” so she can get a passing grade on her homework, somehow, after having already flunked.
150 “trespassers” alleged (none arrested at the scene), 139 unknown. 0 known vandals. A massively overcharged butcher bill by Wells Fargo. According to defense attorney Bryan Hackett, (a) there has to be someone that the defendants “aided and abetted” in the original trespass (and no such showing was made—only that the defendants either were in the building and/or communicating with those in the building), (b) there has to be a someone they aided (no one was identified), and (c) it must be shown that action led as a “necessary and probable” consequence to vandalism (also no evidence other than broad claims that it was a tumultuous situation.
The issue is likely to be appealed to a higher court once a transcript is available—which must be done within 15 days of Judge Volkman’s decision. That should be happening shortly.

Previous occupations in Santa Cruz (such as that of the Heiner House in 1992, or the Campbell St. House in 1996, have never led to felony charges (there were originally two felonies and two misdemeanors charged).  The current form of judicial terrorism against activists does further damage to a First Amendment already diced and shredded by the Obama/Bush demolition team.

Judge Timothy Volkmann denies dismissal for ‘final four’

in River Street bank occupation

By Cathy Kelly
Posted:   03/11/2013 04:41:37 PM PDT
SANTA CRUZ — In a courtroom full of activists, Judge Timothy Volkmann on Monday denied a motion to dismiss trespassing and vandalism charges against four remaining defendants accused of the takeover of a former Wells Fargo Bank building on River Street.
Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Franklin Alcantara, Cameron Laurendau and Brent Adams are among 11 people originally charged with trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy for a high-profile occupation of a vacant former bank on Nov. 30, 2011.
Summarizing the 350-page preliminary hearing transcript, Volkmann described Ripley-Phipps as the group spokesperson and said the other three were seen inside the building at least twice. He then noted “it appears the major tussle centers on the felony vandalism charge” and whether that was a “natural consequence of the (misdemeanor) trespass (charge).”
Volkmann said his colleague, Judge Paul Burdick — who presided over the preliminary hearing — found that the vandalism was a natural and probable cause of the trespass due to the size and emotionally charged nature of the crowd, the stacking of furniture against the doors and other barricading behavior, the length of time they stayed inside, and other factors.
As prosecutor Rebekah Young put it, “They were in there for the long haul.”
The defense challenged Young’s theory that the four are guilty as aiders and abetters. In other words, that if they entered the bank with the crowd, and if the damage to the building was a “natural and probable” result of that entering, they are guilty of vandalism even without direct evidence of their part in the destruction of property.
Volkmann listened to Santa Cruz defense attorneys Lisa McCamey, Jesse Ruben, Bryan Hackett and Alexis Briggs argue that there is little or no direct evidence of who damaged the bank. They also argued the vandalism charge could not hold under the aiding and abetting theory without more proof of the circumstances surrounding the entering of the building.
“There is no evidence they agreed to trespass,” McCamey said. “Their mere presence is not enough for this theory.”
Volkmann ruled against them, noting there is a lower standard of proof the District Attorneys’ Office must meet at the preliminary hearing stage. He said the defense attorneys’ arguments “may be applicable” at trial.
Trial is set for May 13, but Ruben said he anticipates a conflict due to a homicide trial he is taking part in.
The group is due back in court April 8 for a status hearing.
A group of supporters and activists came to court for the afternoon hearing, as they have several times, with flyers urging “Drop the Charges! Santa Cruz Eleven: The Final Four.”
The case began after people swarmed into the former bank after an Occupy Santa Cruz march, causing damage now estimated at about $25,000 and sparking a tense situation with police. Three days later, the group walked away.
The four remaining defendants are out of custody.
Earlier, Burdick dismissed charges against seven people due to insufficient evidence. He also dismissed a conspiracy charge the group had faced and fined the District Attorney’s Office $500 for failing to provide evidence to defense attorneys.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9
For more info: santacruzeleven.org

What Your $100,000+ is paying for: Transcript of the Santa Cruz 11 Preliminary Hearing 1-7

by (posted by Norse) S.C.Court
Wednesday Feb 6th, 2013 3:35 PM

On Monday January 7th and Tuesday January 8th, D.A. Bob Lee, through his underling Rebekah Young, dragged the Santa Cruz Eleven [SC-11] into yet another round in court. Actually only seven defendants were there for the Preliminary Hearing, the other four had already been cleared of all charge. This is a proceeding where the prosecution is supposed to present enough evidence to convince the judge there is probable cause to forward the cases to (a second) arraignment and thence to trial. The record is an important one–for it’s supposed to reveal a significant portion of the prosecution’s case.

The hearing ended up freeing three of the seven, with the remaining four sent to trial on a tangled and twisted “aiding and abetting” theory. Accused of “felony vandalism” and “misdemeanor trespass” (failure to leave private property after having been warned by the owner or owner’s agent), the four face little if no actual testimony that they were warned. There is no evidence at all that any of them committed, advised, or even witnessed vandalism. Rather, claims D.A. Young, their having “trespassed” makes them responsible for any other vandalism created by parties unknown. This, of course, defies common sense and justice.

Not to mention that the context of the case was a massive peaceful protest against Wells Fargo Bank, a criminal of a much taller order than any of those (unnamed and unknown) who left graffiti in the building and damaged some of the furniture.

I have written about this extensively. Most recently at “Laurendeau Arraigned Yet Again As D.A.’s Merry-Go-Round Twirls On” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/31/18731105.php?show_comments=1#18731256 .

I posted Judge Burdick’s order fining the D.A.’s office Rebekah Young’s repeated failure to follow court orders to release evidence to the defense (and then lying about it–though Burdick far too charitably found she was “in good faith”) at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php (“Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments”).

Analyst, photographer, and (former) SC-11 defendant Alex Darocy has a good article on the Preliminary Hearing which had quite a supportive turnout (“Santa Cruz Eleven Down to Four and Conspiracy Charges Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/10/18729819.php). My comments and those of others follows his visually rich story.

Posted here in all its 200+ page splendor is the transcript of the Preliminary Hearing for the 7th held in January.


by (posted by Norse) S.C.Court Wednesday Feb 6th, 2013 3:35 PM


by (posted by Norse) S.C.Court Wednesday Feb 6th, 2013 3:35 PM

A Vindictive and Oblivious Prosecution Enters Its Second Year: Cameron Laurendeau of the S.C. 11 Arraigned (Again)


by Robert Norse

Saturday Feb 2nd, 2013 10:39 PM

Visiting Judge Sillman presided in Courtroom 6 as the last of the SC-11 defendants Cameron Laurendeau pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespass in the Now-entering-its-second-year Crush-the-Occupy-Movement sideshow orchestrated (rather badly) by D.A. Bob Lee and his fumbling deputy Rebekah Young.

Laurendeau’s attorney Alex Briggs advised the court they would be filing a 995 Motion (Motion to Dismiss) slated for a hearing March 11 1:30 PM in Department 6. A similar motion resulted in the dismissal of charges against Alex Darocy and Bradley Stuart last year. Charges were initially dismissed against Laurendeau and Angel Alcantara at a earlier Preliminary Hearing, but Young insisted on refiling them. I went into some of the details in “Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php/

I hope to post Brigg’s motion some days before the hearing. I’ll be playing an interview with Briggs on Sunday February 2 at 11 AM at 101.3 FM (or http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/).

Young suggested the trial of Laurendeau and three others would take a week; Briggs suggested it would take several. Previously Young had suggested the Preliminary Hearing would take hours–when it ended up taking several days in all cases.

Trial readiness will be 9 AM on May 9th; jury trial to begin on May 13th for Laurendeau, Alcantara, Ripplyphipps, and Adams. Unless the D.A. responds to public pressure (or private wisdom) and drops the charges.

I have a copy of the last Preliminary Hearing–on the basis of which, Laurendeau and the three others were forwarded for further court and D.A. harassment if anyone wants to see it. Perhaps I’ll post a hard copy in the Public Library (it’s about 250 pages). The same Preliminary Hearing resulted in myself, Becky Johnson, and Desiree Foster having all charges dismissed.

It’s not clear if or to whom the D.A.’s office will appeal the unusual (and token) finding that Young violated court orders in denying 11 defendants important evidence. If they do appeal, as Lee has said he will in the Sentinel, then he and Judge Burdick may fight it out in some higher court (though we’re talking about the slightest slap on the wrist here).

We are all of course innocent of an violent or arguably any illegal behavior, as I’ve detailed in past posts. See http://www.santacruzeleven,org for the thoughts of others. For my analysis simply search on this website for “Norse”.

Last of Santa Cruz Eleven Goes to Arraignment

Title: Last of Santa Cruz Eleven Goes to Arraignment
START DATE: Friday February 01
TIME: 8:15 AM – 8:45 AM
Location Details:
701 Ocean St. County Courthouse Department 6 (though the calendar may then be moved to another courtroom).
Event Type: Court Date
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number
Cameron Laurendeau, one of four defendants against whom reckless and false prosecution is still proceeding, from the original Santa Cruz Eleven, goes to another arraignment in Judge Burdick’s court.

Seven of the Santa Cruz Eleven have already had all charges dismissed against them. Cameron and three others still face a possible four years in prison for a peaceful protest involving the occupation of a vacant bank building leased by Wells Fargo Bank, and owned by Barry Swenson.

Cameron’s lawyer, Alexis Briggs, has been the most active defense counsel of the group, pressing successful (if small) sanctions against prosecution D.A. Rebekah Young for violating court orders to turn over evidence.

For more background go to “Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php .

For further background see http://www.santacruzeleven.org .

Even though this is simply another in a series of unending and fruitless court dates, supporters are encouraged to attend in solidarity.

Added to the calendar on Thursday Jan 31st, 2013 5:31 PM

iCal Import this event into your personal calendar.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse

Saturday Feb 2nd, 2013 10:39 PM

Visiting Judge Sillman presided in Courtroom 6 as the last of the SC-11 defendants Cameron Laurendeau pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespass in the Now-entering-its-second-year Crush-the-Occupy-Movement sideshow orchestrated (rather badly) by D.A. Bob Lee and his fumbling deputy Rebekah Young.

Laurendeau’s attorney Alex Briggs advised the court they would be filing a 995 Motion (Motion to Dismiss) slated for a hearing March 11 1:30 PM in Department 6. A similar motion resulted in the dismissal of charges against Alex Darocy and Bradley Stuart last year. Charges were initially dismissed against Laurendeau and Angel Alcantara at a earlier Preliminary Hearing, but Young insisted on refiling them. I went into some of the details in “Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php/

I hope to post Brigg’s motion some days before the hearing. I’ll be playing an interview with Briggs on Sunday February 2 at 11 AM at 101.3 FM (or http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/).

Young suggested the trial of Laurendeau and three others would take a week; Briggs suggested it would take several. Previously Young had suggested the Preliminary Hearing would take hours–when it ended up taking several days in all cases.

Trial readiness will be 9 AM on May 9th; jury trial to begin on May 13th for Laurendeau, Alcantara, Ripplyphipps, and Adams. Unless the D.A. responds to public pressure (or private wisdom) and drops the charges.

I have a copy of the last Preliminary Hearing–on the basis of which, Laurendeau and the three others were forwarded for further court and D.A. harassment if anyone wants to see it. Perhaps I’ll post a hard copy in the Public Library (it’s about 250 pages). The same Preliminary Hearing resulted in myself, Becky Johnson, and Desiree Foster having all charges dismissed.

It’s not clear if or to whom the D.A.’s office will appeal the unusual (and token) finding that Young violated court orders in denying 11 defendants important evidence. If they do appeal, as Lee has said he will in the Sentinel, then he and Judge Burdick may fight it out in some higher court (though we’re talking about the slightest slap on the wrist here).

We are all of course innocent of an violent or arguably any illegal behavior, as I’ve detailed in past posts. See http://www.santacruzeleven,org for the thoughts of others. For my analysis simply search on this website for “Norse”.

by John E. Colby

Sunday Feb 3rd, 2013 5:11 PM

DA Bob Lee’s witch hunt against the Santa Cruz Eleven is meant to cow potential activists — fired up by the success of the Occupy movement — from performing mass acts of civil disobedience. DA Bob Lee sent a message that anyone who performs acts of civil disobedience will be charged will felonies and dragged (even w/o evidence) through the courts.

It’s a rather crude way of stifling dissent. That’s why it is so important that the Santa Cruz Eleven fight back to hold DA Bob Lee and his prosecutor Rebekah Young accountable for abusing their positions of authority under color of law to deprive the Santa Cruz Eleven of rights guaranteed by the Constitution and U.S. law.

DA Bob Lee is practicing a crude kind of social control in case anyone in Santa Cruz considers organizing mass civil disobedience against entrenched authority.

Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments

For the original article and extensive comments that follow go to – http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php

by Robert Norse   Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2013 5:40 PM

The prosecution of Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Brent Adams, and Gabriella Ripplyphipps is heading into its second year with a cost of over $100,000 if you consider the court time and expense spent on the Santa Cruz Eleven cases. Harder to calculate is the loss of reputation for courts, cops, and prosecution (which may actually enable people to view them more realistically), the injury to the defendants, and the chill this case has spread over the activist community. The focus has been shifted from the criminal banksters to the whistle-blowers who have exposed them. But D.A. Bob Lee shows on signs of quitting.

To view the PDF of the court order ordering the D.A.’s office be fined for D.A. Rebekah Young’s misconduct, go to http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2013/01/23/sanctions_against_rebekah_young.pdf .

The bogus, costly, and misdirected prosecution of the Santa Cruz Eleven grinds on. Charges against me and all but four of us were dismissed as of two weeks ago after eleven long months and endless court hearings.

Why? Judge Burdick was given no evidence that any of us (1) broke into the bank; (2) conspired to break into the bank; (3) committed felony vandalism; (4) conspired to commit felony vandalism; (5) refused to leave after a properly given police warning, or (6) “occupied” the bank–all “trespass-occupation” charges were dropped. Hence no one is guilty–among those charged.

Even more, none of us–especially those whose charges were dropped–should ever have been charged in the first place. There was insufficient evidence to go to trial and no connection with vandalism–a charge cooked up, it looks like, to shore up what was otherwise a massively overcharged political persecution.

There certainly were people who occupied and committed vandalism. Police chose not to act in a legal or timely fashion to actually deal with legally prosecutable trespass and actual vandalism. That was their choice at the time.

Instead the SCPD turned in reports that indicated a desire to use the case to go after high-profile activists, reporters, and whistle-blowers that they didn’t like. D.A. Bob Lee piled on with a host of ridiculous and unsupportable charges, mainly to act as bagman for Wells Fargo’s outrageously overstated clean-up costs.

He appointed the incompetent and mendacious Assistant D.A. Rebekah Young. Young refused and/or failed to provide the defense with the police videos and other information–in spite of repeated orders from Judge Burdick. For the first time I’ve ever heard of, the court actually (reluctantly) sanctioned the D.A.’s office to the tune of $500 (probably less than 1/100th of the costs to attorneys, defendants, prosecutors, and judges). A cost that is still rising.

Attached to this article is Judge Burdick’s lengthy documentation of Young’s misconduct. Again, Burdick refused to even consider fining Young personally even a fraction of the costs she created. Nor would he adopt an evidenciary sanction (withholding evidence that was not turned over to the defense), nor would he dismiss the charges outright–though her abuses were repeated and glaring. Burdick’s excuse for not doing so was that he didn’t want the State Bar to hear of Young’s misconduct (which would happen if it were over $1000). Prosecution lawyers apparently get the kid glove treatment when they cost tens of thousands of dollars and drag innocent people through the courts.

Last February, sheriffs came to the homes of three defendants and hauled them off in handcuffs without prior notifications, requiring bail in several cases. A year later, all of these cases had been dropped for lack of evidence, indicating no probable cause for the charges in the first place–to say nothing of the arrests. There has been no explanation for this abusive process, much less apologies or restitution.

Why did the SCPD and D.A.’s office adopt the bizarre procedure of waiting two months to charge the group of activists targeted? The bank occupation had ended peacefully. Occupy Santa Cruz had largely dispersed. The purpose of the subsequent police action seemed largely vindictive and/or political–to “send a message” that regardless of the merit of the charges and the innocence of the defendants, this was a convenient time to chill any possible future protests. For all the activists, this was the first time felony charges–threatening a possible six years in prison–were raised.

Why didn’t the SCPD, if its real purpose was to prevent vandalism and penalize trespass, move on the activists a day or two into the Occupation?

Perhaps the SCPD recognized that this protest was part of a national wave of popular outrage…

(a) against a Wells Fargo leased property–Wells Fargo being one of the biggest thieves and home-wreckers as well as a multi-billion dollar welfare queen;

(b) It was taken as winter descended for 1000-1500 homeless people in a city with shelter for less than 10% of them while vacant bank buildings stood empty downtown year after year;

(c) Legislators and officials were doing nothing substantive to deal with foreclosure fraud and real estate speculation or compensate those swindled, except reward the swindlers with bail-outs. This is still the case. The community was peacefully but forcefully taking to the streets to empower itself to take real action.

(d) The SCPD may have recognized that the broader wave of outrage had broad and deep roots nationally. A hasty response might well have resulted at the very least in toxic publicity (as in the Davis pepper spraying) and successful civil lawsuits, and at the worst serious rioting downtown.

And the SCPD’s restraint did avoid both these dangers for its political and business clients.

They could have been content with this success and the subsequent withering away of the Occupy movement. But no. Instead of moving in with uniformed or undercover officers to document trespass and vandalism when the occupation was happening (after the first day when the danger of violence was far less), they chose to subsequently go after their least favorite activists and those who had been willing to talk with them candidly during the protest. A lazy and despicable tactic.

Vindictive overcharging prosecutions and politically motivated police reports can lead to deadly results–witness the shameful Aaron Swartz suicide. The Santa Cruz Eleven almost lost one of their number the same way.

Obviously all charges must be dropped. Even for those who hate the activists involved, surely saving face for D.A. Bob Lee and Police Chief Kevin Vogel is not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Tying up the courts with this political sideshow takes time, energy, and focus away from real criminal behavior.

Those who equate a political protest against a known corporate criminal like Wells Fargo in a 3 1/2 year vacant building with a Mom-and-Pop home invasion are talking inflammatory nonsense.

Wells Fargo is the real criminal. Lee and Young, acting as bagmen for the bank and cover for the SCPD, need to be fired. The defendants and their lawyers should be fairly compensated for this lengthy and costly circus. In a just society such a witch hunt would have been swept aside long ago.

The Sentinel’s skeletal coverage of this ongoing kangaroo court hippity-hop can be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22425154/remaining-santa-cruz-11-bank-building-takeover-defendants . My comments (a briefer version of this story) follow in the comments section.

A Sentinel letter by David Silva-Espinoza (no relation to David Minton Silva, the long-time Santa Cruz homeless activist) and comments is at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_22372754/you-see-it-jan-15-2013.

The next hearing in the case is for Cameron Laurendeau on Friday February 1st at 8:15 AM in Department 6. For further updates check http://www.santacruzeleven.org .

Burdick Babies Bad-Faith Barrister

by Robert Norse
Sunday Jan 6th, 2013 1:55 AM

D.A. Bob Lee’s Bigtop of Fanciful Felonies returns to Department 6 at 9 AM on Monday, January 7th at the County Courthouse for a Preliminary Hearing for the remaining 7 of the Santa Cruz Eleven. It seemed clear, Friday, at the Readiness hearing that Burdick had developed an unusually soft spot in his heart for the terminally-incompetent assistant-D.A. Rebekah Young. who has been handling the case, missing deadlines, misinforming (or lying) to the defense and the court, and failing to provide requested evidence. The defendants are falsely charged with felony conspiracy, felony vandalism, and misdemeanor trespass in the peaceful occupation of bankster Wells Fargo’s leased but 3 1/2 years vacant bank at 75 River St.

Back in August, in spite of extensive and perhaps wilful negligence, Rebekah Young got a slap on the wrist and a pass from Judge Burdick. He refused to drop the charges even though Young’s phony reassurances, delays, and outright violations of court orders had delayed the Preliminary Hearing for six months as she ignored defense demands for police reports, video tapes, and internal memos. This was all as of mid-August.

The consequences to the defendants were significant. One remained out of work because of the felony charge. Another had attempted suicide. Two others were living in their vehicles, barely able to scrape up enough money to come to court again and again.

At that August hearing, Burdick added insult to injury. He postponed the hearings for another five months. He also refused to hold an immediate hearing to determine how Young should be sanctioned for her prosecutorial misconduct, delaying the hearing until January 4, 2013—the Friday court appearance.

Then he refused to postponed any sanctions hearing five months and similarly prolonged the agony of the defendants for another half year. Some can not get credentials with phony felony charges hanging over their heads.

Young’s violations were repeated and, it seemed to everyone but Burdick, intentional. she’d explicitly violated court orders to provide all requested information (video and documents requested months before) by August 23rd, upsetting even Burdick. She claimed the D.A.’s office had made all records available for viewing there—an unusual procedure—but every defense attorney present, swore this was simply not the case.

On August 23rd, Burdick also declined to impose any evidentiary sanction (that is, excluding evidence that Young either negligently or intentionally with held in the face of repeated requests).

It was a fairly short court appearance. Six defendants (Cameron Laurendeau didn’t make it down from the Bay Area) and five attorneys (Jesse Rubin, Franklin “Angel” Alcantara’s lawyer, and Brian Hackett,Gabriella Ripplyphipps lawyer had a sub).

And one judge—Paul Burdick.

The purpose of the hearing was to establish “readiness for the Preliminary Hearing” on Monday January 7th. And to finally—half a year later—establish some punishment for D.A. Rebekah Young’s repeated violation of discovery procedures and court orders, essentially withholding information from the defense and lying about it.

At the January 4th hearing, Burdick had become even more tender-hearted towards Young. Attorney Alexis Briggs (Cameron’s lawyer) suggested that the D.A.’s office or Young personally be required to pay $7000 for her expenses. He gave the attorneys a little more than 48 hours to produce arguments justifying any financial sanctions against her and provide a full record of expenses incurred by the attorneys because of Young’s lawless behavior.

Why, asked several of the defendants, was the judge only considering the consequences to the attorneys—how about the defendants? No attorneys raised the issue.

Two cannot get their teaching credentials renewed since questionable felony charges are hanging over their heads. Franklin “Angel” Alcantara missed his grandmother’s funeral in Fresno when forced to attend a hearing in August 2012 on threat of arrest if he didn’t. Defendant, Becky Johnson, was not able to attend her 40th Class Reunion out of state, nor help a longtime girlfriend in Washington State when she provided hospice care for her partner of 25 years until his death October 2nd. Yet at Friday’s hearing, Judge Burdick would only consider sanctions in the form of travel expenses incurred for out-of-county lawyers, and only up to a maximum value of $1000.

As a final insult, Burdick advised Briggs and her fellow attorneys that he would only consider financial sanctions under $1000 even though the expenses of two of the attorneys (David Beauvais and Briggs) were five to seven times that amount. Both had to make repeated trips down for unnecessary court appearances that simply required again postponing because Young had held back evidence.

Why would Burdick consider reimbursing only a small fraction of the costs incurred? Because to grant any amount over $1000 would mean an automatic complaint to the Bar Association—something Burdick didn’t want to happen to the D.A. Young. I was furious about Burdick’s apparent complicity in moving to shield Young from the consequences of her misconduct. And at my attorney David Beauvais when he declined to file such a charge independently. To me, this showed how even “activist” attorneys back off to protect their legal colleagues, privileges and prestige, fearing the condemnation of their peers.

Lee has publicly claimed that his main concern is to pay off Wells Fargo’s inflated and unlikely $26,000 in alleged “damages” before he will consider dropping charges. Burdick stated he intended for the preliminary hearing to last only 1 day beginning Monday at 9:00 AM in Dept 6.

Even though a previous Preliminary Hearing for two defendants had lasted three days, and one for four defendants two days, Rebekah Young in the breezy fashion so typical of her suggested the hearing for seven defendants, would take only one day. This, in spite of the fact she was calling six police officers and the defense at least two witnesses.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 AM Monday morning in Dept. 6. Bring popcorn and tomatoes. There may be a brief meeting of supporters and defendants before the hearing, so come early–particularly if you want a free (for two hours) parking spot.

The opinions above are my own and do not necessarily represent those of any of the other SC-11 or their supporters.

For a broader discussion of the background, see my comments following the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s surface-skimming account of the January 4th Readiness Hearing at
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22313495/thirteen-months-later-hearing-set-monday-7-charged .

For more information visit the SC-11 website at http://www.santacruzeleven.org or call SC11 Media liaison, Steven Pleich at 831 466 6078

§Sentinel’s Usual Plus My Comments

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 2:49 AM
at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22328776/no-ruling-yet-whether-those-charged-75-river .

Sgt. Michael Harms, while adopting a wide-eyed “just trying to help” pose–his signature posture–shifted his story several times to attempt to incriminate innocent people.

I actually like Sgt. Harms personally, but the record is pretty clear.

His testimony attempted to smear Gabriella Ripplyphipps as a “spokesperson” for the “conspiracy”, when there was no testimony she was ever in the building but attempted to assist police at their initiative through phone contact and actually going to the police station to (successfully) avert violence and assist the police in clearing the building voluntarily.

Harms also repeatedly mischaracterized the level of noise and inaudible warnings given to the group. He also attempted the ludicrous makeover job of describing the police assault–backed up by a line of menacing police in riot gear as being an attempt to “protect the protesters” (from being hurt by the furniture barricade set up).

In so far as he advised his military-minded superiors (like the ever-smug and sniggering Deputy Chief Steve Clark) to back off, he does need to be credited with avoiding a riot. This, of course, was after having initially provoked scores of people outside the building by using a squad of riot police with active batons instead of real negotiations.

When the community response forced the police to back off ( their Grenadier Squad with “riot control” tear gas, etc. was at the ready and on the scene according to prior testimony), lots of likely property destruction was averted.

I wonder if the next time a protest like this happens, activists will be so trusting and controlled. The duplicity of the police in rewarding the peaceful ending of this occupation with delayed felony charges against peacemakers, reporters, and supporters is likely to be long-remembered.

Outside the courtroom, Harms hypocritically expressed “regret” that he was there, but the force of his testimony showed his intentions, loyalties, and objectives. To incriminate, convict, and make examples of activists engaged in peaceful high-profile protest that challenges corrupt institutions and practices in the community directly.

It’s important to understand his role as a steady opponent of First Amendment activity in Santa Cruz.

From the Drum Circle dragnet to the First Night DIY citations of 2010 against Wes Modes, Whitney Wilde, and Curtis Reliford to the ceaseless vendetta against Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon to drive them out of the downtown to this latest exercise in hypocrisy, Harms has through his actions shown his true pretentions to social service sweetie as mostly protective color.

Drum Circle Dragnet: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/05/14/18647910.php http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/04/28/18646028.php
The Richardson/deLeon smackdown: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/03/20/18642123.php
Undermining the DIY New Year’s Parade: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/18/18654218.php

When the chips are down, Harms is there with the force to intimidate. And intimidation is what this latest judicial jamboree is all about. With a large dash of “saving face” and a sprinkling of meat for the “Take Back Santa Cruz” mob.

Listed below are the latest comments posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by website visitors.

lawyer clarification Jessica Monday Jan 7th, 2013 5:22 PM

Santa Cruz Eleven Down to Four and Conspiracy Charges Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing


At a preliminary hearing on January 8, holds were removed on three community members who were charged in association with the 75 River bank occupation in Santa Cruz. All of the charges against Desiree Foster, Robert Norse, and Becky Johnson have been effectively dismissed by Santa Cruz Judge Paul P. Burdick. Charges still remain in effect for four defendants, Brent Adams, Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, and Cameron Laurendeau, and Burdick removed conspiracy from the counts they face. Their arraignment date was set for January 22 in Santa Cruz. Additionally, the judge sanctioned District Attorney Rebekah Young with a $500 fine for the violation of a discovery order, saying that he had never imposed a sanction like this on the District Attorney’s office before. [Photo: After the hearing concluded.]




The January 8 court appearance was the second day of a preliminary hearing for the seven defendants, and after the prosecution had called all of its witnesses, Robert Norse’s attorney was preparing to call their first defense witness when Judge Burdick stopped them, saying that testimony on behalf of Norse may be unnecessary.Burdick stated that he wasn’t seeing any evidence that there was an agreement to trespass, which was necessary to establish the conspiracy charge against all seven defendants, and about Norse, Johnson, and Foster specifically, he stated that he had heard nothing to lead him to believe that they were present in the bank building after police had arrived on scene to give what he described as “the warning” that they were trespassing.After a break, Burdick gave the attorneys on both sides a chance to respond to the legal issues he had referenced.
The judge began by stating that he had found that the evidence showed that the authority to remove demonstrators from the building wasn’t given by Wells Fargo until 6 or 6:30 pm on November 1, and the warnings and “no trespassing” fliers weren’t posted on the building by the police until December 1.The judge stated that the evidence further showed that Foster, Johnson, and Norse were not observed on the premises after 6:30 pm, meaning they were not “given notice” that they were trespassing, which is a requirement of the section of the code they were being charged with, 602(o). 602(o) also requires a refusal to leave after having been given notice.
In the absence of these requirements, the judge asked what evidence the prosecution had for conspiracy.”Conspiracy can be shown by conduct,” Young said, and she gave an example of police testimony that stated Desiree Foster was seen in front of the bank, “waving people in.”The judge responded by citing a 1990 ruling which found that for crimes which have been alleged to have occurred during free speech assemblies, “something more than circumstantial evidence” is required to prove conspiracy.

Judge Burdick stated that the occupation of the bank at 75 River appeared to be a “spontaneous occupation” after the doorway was opened with a key, and that it wasn’t shown that there was an agreement made to commit a crime. He then stated that he wasn’t going to hold any of the defendants on the conspiracy count.

Community members first entered the vacant bank building located at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz after a march to it and other banks on November 30, 2011, which was during the height of the national occupy movement. The march to 75 River Street was promoted as a march to a “foreclosed property” and initially the address of the location was not given out by the organizers. Some of those involved said they wanted to turn the large building, which had been vacant for more than two years at the time, into a community center.

The space, which is leased by Wells Fargo from the owner Barry Swenson, was eventually abandoned by the demonstrators on December 2, but some damage was left as a result of the occupation, and the estimated costs to repair it justified felony charges in the eyes of the District Attorney’s office.

In February of 2012, Eleven people were charged in association with the occupation, and charges against them included felony conspiracy to commit vandalism and/or trespass, felony vandalism, misdemeanor trespass by entering and occupying, and misdemeanor trespass by refusing to leave private property.

Preliminary hearings began in February for all eleven individuals, and charges were dismissed against Ed Rector and Grant Wilson by Judge Burdick in April of 2012, and Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy, both Indybay journalists, had the charges against them dismissed also by Burdick in May of 2012.

The remaining four defendants now have two weeks until their arraignment on counts which have been reduced to misdemeanor trespass (602(o)), and felony vandalism, which the judge found was a “natural and probable outcome” of the trespass (the so-called aiding and abetting legal theory).

“I do not want this case to linger,” Judge Burdick stated.

The final matter dealt with at the preliminary hearing was the sanction against DA Young.

“I do not believe DA Young was acting in bad faith,” Judge Burdick stated, but he added that there was no “substantial justification,” for her non-compliance with discovery orders given in 2012.

The judge found that her actions had caused a six month delay in the preliminary hearings, and defense attorneys pointed out that the “consequences to defendants were great.”

Two defendants had to sleep in their cars as a result of the delays, one defendant missed a family member’s funeral, and a variety of other serious life-impacts were described.

Defense attorneys wanted the fine increased to $1500, but Judge Burdick left it at $500 to cover “clerk’s expenses,” and the defense attorneys weren’t compensated in any way for the extra time they put in.

The arraignment for defendants Brent Adams, Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, and Cameron Laurendeau is set for January 22 at 8:15.

For more information about those charged, see:

Alex Darocy

§Inside the courtroom after the hearing concluded

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




After the hearing concluded, supporters were excited that three more individuals had the charges against them dismissed.

§Robert Norse speaks with Gabriella Ripley-Phipps

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Robert Norse (on the right) speaks briefly with Gabriella Ripley-Phipps as she left the courtroom after the hearing concluded.

§Becky Johnson

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Grant Wilson looks on as Becky Johnson and her attorney are interviewed after the hearing concluded.

§Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Desiree Foster, Becky Johnson

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Featured in this picture: Franklin “Angel” Alcantara on the left, Desiree Foster and her mother and her attorney, and to the right Becky Johnson, after the hearing concluded.

§Brent Adams

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Brent Adams speaks with his attorney after the hearing concluded.

§Robert Norse, Franklin “Angel” Alcantara

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Robert Norse on the left and Franklin “Angel” Alcantara to the right, after the hearing concluded.

§Before the hearing concluded

by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:50 AM




Robert Norse with Gabriella Ripley-Phipps and her mother. Before the hearing concluded the mood was considerably lighter. Cameron Laurendeau tries to relax a bit in the background.


by Alex Darocy ( alex [at] alexdarocy.com ) Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 5:06 PM
Cameron Laurendeau’s arraignment hearing is scheduled for February 1, not January 22 with the others, due to a work scheduling conflict.


by Robert Norse

Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 1:07 PM

Burdick’s theory was a strange one. He held that evidence that the four remaining defendants were guilty of misdemeanor”trespass after being warned to leave” (PC 602o) justified holding them for “felony vandalism”.

This, even though no evidence was presented by the D.A. after 11 months that any of them vandalized.

Burdick claimed that it was a “natural and probable outcome” of four people who had allegedly been told to leave and then refused to do so. How so?

The argument, if you credit it at all, in this kind of peaceful First Amendment protest, goes better with the charge that Burdick dropped for all the defendants–602M, trespass to occupy. If proved, I suppose, it might by this tortured “aiding and abetting” argument link someone “occupying” with the damage done by someone else at some other time–since it was an “occupation”. Burdick, however, dropped these charges.

But failure to leave at one point is clearly unrelated to vandalism committed by parties unknown sometime in the three day period.

As a spontaneous First Amendment demonstration, there might have been dozens of people willing to openly acknowledge and face “trespass” charges in court for a peaceful brief occupation of a 3 1/2 year vacant bank building as a matter of principle–however Bob Lee, burnishing his “law ‘n order” image came back with these absurd felony conspiracy and vandalism charges. But the charges were unnecessary to begin with, because everyone left the building–peacefully.

The action, as I understood it, was taken to expose Wells Fargo and challenge the waste of vacant building space and need for a community center and homeless shelter here in Santa Cruz. These are simply facts which few dispute.

But D.A. Lee inflated the charges with felony conspiracy and felony vandalism, presenting no evidence of either conspiracy or vandalism (by the people specifically charged). Some might suggest this shows shoddy police and D.A. work since police had the option to enter the bank and ID/detain/cite/arrest the people inside at any time during the three days. Particularly after the large crowd of people outside the bank on November 30th had dispersed. Or send in undercover cops to document the real perpetrators of vandalism.

Instead police chose to selectively target and then forward some of their least-favorite activists for prosecution to the D.A., ignoring numerous others, claiming they “couldn’t identify” anyone else. And the D.A. chose to prosecute some of those least-favorite activists, ignoring some (including former Mayor Beiers whom the police had recommended for prosecution).

The whining and abusive accusations of Deputy-Chief Steve Clark denouncing Burdick seem an additional pit of clueless cacophony in this ongoing circus. Or a self-serving commotion to distract from his own department’s bad decisions. See http://www.kionrightnow.com/story/20548286/police-das-office-respond-to-charges-dropped-for-3-bank-protesters.

Once set in motion, the prosecutorial juggernaut was supposed to roll on, I guess- regardless of how crappy Clark’s SCPD work was. The whole scene gives the impression of a political prosecution arranged to save the face of the SCPD, assist in intimidating the (already dispersed) Occupy Santa Cruz movement, and provide a kind of “show trial” for political activists in the to show how “tough” on direct action First Amendment activity the SCPD and their pals in Bob Lee’s office could be. Allcosting far far more than the supposed damages in the building.

At the time, I thought that Chief Vogel made a good decision not to continue the violent assault of the SCPD in front of the building which they began (and were ready to reinforce with chemical weaponry, according to court testimony). However those who cooperated with the SCPD to help a “peaceful exit”, were ultimately punished for their good deeds and face prison time now. Even though the actual evidence presented by police and prosecution do not add up to the elements of the two crimes–something that will hopefully be shown at trial if these charges survive a Motion to Dismiss, coming up after the Arraignments later this month.

Finally, Bob Lee assigns one inexperienced relatively clueless assistant D.A. to face eleven defense lawyers. Given that she got endless support from judges along the way, who ok-ed time and time again on her failure to provide requested evidence, perhaps D.A. Bob Lee felt she didn’t need additional help. But if he were really serious, I’d have thought he’d provided her with additional back-up once her cases were dismissed one after another.

The fact that he did not further indicates this is some kind of token effort, perhaps undertaken out of concern for impoverished banksters in town? Or done to appease rising right-wing forces before the November election? Who knows?

All charges needed to be dropped. Real sanctions not just token ones need to be pressed against Rebekah Young, even if that means formal complaints to the Bar Association with real consequences. Civil lawsuits need to be filed against the authorities who masterminded this life-consuming ordeal of the last year. New standards for police and prosecutorial behavior need to be established to restore the First Amendment here in Santa Cruz and lift the fear that has hovered over the activist community.

Empty buildings are the crime. Freezing weather is the reality. Foreclosure is the continuing threat. And the real criminals are at large and in power.

by Linda Ellen Lemaster

Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 2:14 PM

Left the courtroom after hearing Honorable Judge Paul Burdick’s terms and decisions for the coming Trial, thinking about the “sanctions” Burdick imposed on assistant D A Rebecca Young’s “quality of work”, especially regarding disclosure of evidence, to Indictees and their legal counsel.The judge said it’s important that the amount be modest so as not to trigger a California Bar Assn or state ‘trigger’ with misconduct charges against Young a possibility. So he decreed $500+ to go to the court clerk’s department. As defendant Becky Johnson noted after court, “No wonder, the recording clerks are working on seven cases at once!”

So goes the Empire in the hologram of Usury.

Compassionate Judge Burdick? Or perhaps attempting even-handedness? At any rate, Burdick went on to note how rarely a judge actually invokes Ssnction orders. Culminating with, “In fact I have never done this before.” Then Judge Burdick seemed to reassert the authority of his own Black Robes and the real moment we all shared in his courtroom, and promised the trial would be fast and on track.

I believe that the sanctions are even more significant as part of the Santa Cruz Eleven story BECAUSE the judge was bent on keeping his “punishment” or fine with the confines of the pretrial. I lately consider what we’ve learned of impacts between Homeland Security, the FBI and Wall Street money crooks amplifying some sort of Shadow Government running amok. So it is refreshing to see this judge reassert his authority. I wish him the luck of Solomon.

by John Thielking

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 6:28 AM

Congratulations on Robert, Becky and one other person getting their charges dismissed. Since Rebecca Young (quoted in the ch 46 article http://www.kionrightnow.com/story/20548286/police-das-office-respond-to-charges-dropped-for-3-bank-protesters) agrees with the judge on the legal technicality surrounding the dismissal decision, I see little likelyhood that charges will be refiled against those 3 defendants.

by Denica

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 7:47 AM

Great news. Had to sit this one out cause I have a terrible cough but was there in spirit. This has been daunting and unfair towards some really inspirational people.

by Sylvia

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 9:28 AM

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”Max Planck

A police officer testified to expectations of hostility, aggression, a superbowl-like atmosphere, that vandalism was inevitable. I wonder locally what events he based that on, what crowds, what rallies, what demonstrations at the Town Clock that turned negative. Even trained observers can see what they expect to see. Disorder was expected; police arrived in riot gear and had tear gas on call. Local activists were expected; police identified and charged one person who was only on the grass. The judge believes vandalism is a ‘natural and inevitable consequence’ of trespass.

Social change is about changing the historic consequences, setting new expectations and results. The police looked at the bandanna masks and saw attempts to evade identification. I saw the bandannas as symbols of cohesion and support, like the pink ribbons, yellow ribbons, other cause identifiers. Law enforcement seems to be looking for leaders, individuals to blame and punish — a leaderless group doesn’t fit the structure: the success or blame goes to the project.

There had been federally orchestrated enforcement and suppression – this lens created the view. Santa Cruz Police Department was compliant. – they found what it expected and helped create it.

by Robert Norse

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 5:58 PM

The City on a Hill story on the dismissals and arraignments is at http://www.cityonahillpress.com/2013/01/10/santa-cruz-eleven-down-to-four/.My comments on that story:

The D.A., SCPD, and media swooped down on a peaceful protest designed to bring attention to the officially-tolerated (indeed government-funded) bankster frauds of Wells Fargo.   Rather than developing a strategy for reining in the Wells Fargo criminals whose crimes created damages exponentially greater than any vandalism that happened at the vacant bank.

There was no evidence presented any time during the last eleven months (at endless court appearances) that any of the defendants (including the for still being held for trial) had anything to do with the vandalism.  Additionally, based on my understanding of the events, I would say that these defendants had nothing to do with the graffiti and damage that occurred.  Ironically the evidence presented by the D.A. shows that several of those charged went to some lenghs at personal risk to encourage a peaceful outcome to the whole situation–successfully.   No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.

The legalistic noose by which assistant D.A. Young now tries to hang the remaining four of the Santa Cruz Eleven is an absurd legal theory that defines common sense.  It runs like this.  If  they “trespassed” in the bank at any time, then the “necessary and probably consequence” of that “trespass”  was to “aid and abet” anonymous identified vandals–even if the defendants never knew them or their actions, entered and left before they arrived, etc.

Further, Young by no means presented any persuasive evidence that the four even trespassed.  The definition of 602o requires not just that you be seen in the building by a police officer, but that you be told by the owner’s agent to leave and then refuse to do so.   If that’s not proven, Young’s crazy “aiding and abetting”felony vandalism charges (punishable  by three years in prison) get flushed away.  Her only “evidence of vandalism” is the claimt hat the remaining defendants were illegally there and that their mere presence magically  “aided and abetted”.

Why would Burdick buy such a farfetched theory?   He said at an earlier Preliminary Hearing he was very upset at the vandalism apparently wanted someone to pay for the damage.   Apparently anyone present will do.  He may also have felt sufficient political pressure that required him to scapegoat someone responsible for the exorbitant charges that Wells Fargo claimed they paid in the clean-up–business given to out-of-county companies when presumably cheaper local business were available.

Police couldn’t or didn’t bother to actually document and identify real vandals on the scene and make arrests there–even for trespass.  They could have done this without risk to the officers or the people in the building after the first night.   But without real suspects, Burdick is stuck with the people the police forwarded–who also largely happen to be high-profile activists whose political actions they dislike.  So Burdick holds four for arraignment and trial.

After that January 22nd arraignment (for 3 of the 3), there’ll doubtless be a Motion to Dismiss.  A similar motion ended the court nightmare for two earlier defendants (reporters Bradley Allen and Alex Darocy) earlier this year.  The dismissal motion will be heard before another judge.  Before the  community dares to hope, remember that this is a well-oiled, politically-biased judiciary.  don’t count on any sense of justice burrowing its way through D.A. Bob Lee’s year-long and mile-high mound of crap.

Young’s claim that she came up with “new evidence”, for example, is another lie (among many she’s told the court).  The testimony of Sgt. Harms was not new, but was available when she screwed up the first Prelminary Hearing against Alcantara and Laurendau by having Detective Gunter contradict himself  on the stand about so simple an issue as what day he was there.  That should have been the end of the case there, along with strong sanctions for her withholding evidence and lying about it to the defense and the court.

Instead, Judge Burdick apparently believing it was Be Kind to Incompetent D.A.’s Week let her drag the case on for another nine months–and now for god knows how many months into 2013.

I’ve let myself spend far too much time writing about this phony case.  I can’t seem to help myself.

We must return to the original focus:  justice and equity.  Don’t let the police and prosecution terorize us into finding real and immediate answers to far more important questions.

How do we address survival threats against the homeless community (who face freezing temperatures, shelter for less than 10% of them, and official harassment under the Sleeping and Camping Bans)?

How do we end the wellp-financed foreclosure fraud menace of Wells Fargo and its bankster buds?

Empty buildings and obscene profits are the crime.  Those who waste time and money harassing the taxpayers are the criminals

by A. Supporter

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 7:26 PM

And what do the remaining four want the community to do for them?

by John E. Colby

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 11:41 PM

DA Bob Lee and his incompetent prosecutor Rebekah Young laid themselves as well as City and County government open to serious lawsuits. They can be sued for color of law violations amongst others like prosecutorial misconduct. The SCPD opened the City of Santa Cruz up to litigation by their officers perjuring themselves and advising DA Bob Lee to charge the Santa Cruz Eleven.The City and County of Santa Cruz have deep pockets. They, DA Bob Lee and prosecutor Rebekah Young must be held accountable so there is no repeat of this debacle.

I advise the Santa Cruz Eleven to shop for good attorneys ASAP. Remember to file tort claims against the City and County within 90 days of the dismissal of your cases to preserve your rights to sue City and County government.

by Legal eagle

Saturday Jan 12th, 2013 12:07 PM

…prosecutors are absolutely immune from being sued for their decisions whether or not to pursue charges. Before posting the nonsense you do, talk with a real lawyer…

by John E. Colby

Saturday Jan 12th, 2013 2:14 PM

Prosecutors are not immune to being sued for prosecutorial misconduct and violating civil rights under color of law. They are not immune to being sued for abusing their positions of authority.

by John E. Colby

Sunday Jan 13th, 2013 3:16 AM

Reading on the topic of litigating against prosecutors for misconduct shows that prosecutors enjoy far reaching immunity from lawsuits because of past Superme Court decisions:http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-10-05-federal-prosecutor-immunity_N.htm

Thus Bob Lee and Rebekah Young thought they could misbehave with impunity.

However they are subject to administrative complaints filed with the California and American Bar Associations. They can be fined. Their bar licenses can suspended or taken away.

Yet I think the more effective route is to file color of law complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) and the FBI. The USDOJ and FBI have far ranging powers to obtain evidence, interview witnesses and use other means to pursue their investigations. The USDOJ and FBI can apply both civil and criminal sanctions.


I recommend filing bar complaints — it can’t hurt — and filing color of law complaints too. Bob Lee and Rebekah Young must be held accountable. They cannot walk away thinking they are above the law. Asserting your rights protects the rights of those who come behind you. Ensure Bob Lee and Rebekah Young are never able to persecute obviously innocent citizens.

Bob Lee and Rebekah Young believe they are above the law. That’s why they were so arrogant. They cannot not walk away without consequences. That would truly be a crime.

by Legal eagle

Sunday Jan 13th, 2013 6:26 PM

…at your link John. It appears the “color of law” statutes only apply to law enforcement officers and not prosecutors. The FBI has no jurisdiction to investigate the DA’s office.

by John E. Colby

Sunday Jan 13th, 2013 10:05 PM

The District Attorney’s Office is a local law enforcement agency. They have engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or U.S. laws. The U.S. Department of Justice is empowered to initiate a civil action against the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office. Their criminal division is empowered to investigate corrupt local officials.Watch out Bob Lee and Rebekah Young.

To quote from the FBI website:

“Civil Applications

Title 42, U.S.C., Section 14141 makes it unlawful for state or local law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or U.S. laws. This law, commonly referred to as the Police Misconduct Statute, gives the Department of Justice authority to seek civil remedies in cases where law enforcement agencies have policies or practices that foster a pattern of misconduct by employees. This action is directed against an agency, not against individual officers. The types of issues which may initiate a pattern and practice investigation include:

Lack of supervision/monitoring of officers’ actions;
Lack of justification or reporting by officers on incidents involving the use of force;
Lack of, or improper training of, officers; and
Citizen complaint processes that treat complainants as adversaries.
Under Title 42, U.S.C., Section 1997, the Department of Justice has the ability to initiate civil actions against mental hospitals, retardation facilities, jails, prisons, nursing homes, and juvenile detention facilities when there are allegations of systemic derivations of the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons.”

by Legal eagle

Monday Jan 14th, 2013 5:50 AM

…John, I realize we may be getting into semantics here, but the DA’s office is not a law enforcement agency. Only people who pack badges and guns are law enforcement. The DA is the “People’s” lawyer, representing the State of California and victims of crimes in court. The top law enforcement officer in any county is not the DA but the sheriff. Your “color of law” theory has no wings…

by Sylvia

Monday Jan 14th, 2013 10:44 AM

So to whom is the DA accountable? The Board of Supervisors refuses oversight, wouldn’t reduce the DA’s budget. I’m not aware of any cost-benefit analyses. The office is elected, accountable to the voters. Is a recall petition the only move? And what’s the point of that if there is not another candidate?

by Legal eagle

Monday Jan 14th, 2013 1:40 PM

…is up to the voters. And the civil grand jury, if a complaint is filed and the jury decides to investigate.

by John E. Colby

Monday Jan 14th, 2013 1:52 PM

To quote:”The District Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer of the county and works closely with all police departments in the county and state and federal law enforcement officials on investigations and crime-fighting and public safety initiatives.”


To quote:

“A District Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer for the county in which he/she is elected.”


To quote:

“By law, the district attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in the county.”


by G

Monday Jan 14th, 2013 2:58 PM

Yes, where is the accountability? Who has jurisdiction over whom? The consent of the governed is a fragile thing!It is interesting to note how consistently lax and hand wavy the ‘law and order’ crowd is when it comes to the tyranny of the SCPD, DA, and Santa Cruz County judges (and large, felonious corporations, etc). In fact, one could easily draw the conclusion that apologists for authoritarianism are a reliable indicator of where the problems lie…

Someone say hey to Angel for me. There in spirit.

Preliminary Hearing Begins for Seven Defendants Associated with 75 River Bank Occupation

by Alex Darocy ( alex [at] alexdarocy.com )
Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:55 AM

On January 7, a preliminary hearing began for seven of those charged in association with the Fall 2011 occupation of the vacant bank at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz, when community members hoped to “liberate” the space and turn it into a community center during the height of the national Occupy movement. After a variety of legal delays, the court will decide who, if any, of the seven of the eleven who were originally charged will stand trial. Charges against four of the individuals were previously dismissed in 2012.


The seven defendants, Cameron Laurendeau, Franklin Alcantara, Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Brent Adams, Robert Norse, Becky Johnson, and Desiree Foster, and their seven attorneys were present, as was prosecutor Rebekah Young, and Santa Cruz Judge Paul Burdick.

The attorneys huddled around the defense desk with their laptops and various documents, as six of the defendants sat on the bench, lined up behind them. One defendant, Desiree Foster, was forced to sit in the audience section of the court and located two rows back, placing her far away from her legal council during the proceedings.

Three prosecution witnesses took the stand before the day was over: Lt. Larry Richard, Sgt Michael Harms, and Officer Michael Headley, all of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

The current seven defendants are still charged with crimes that carry serious penalties if they are found guilty, including felony conspiracy to commit vandalism and/or trespass, felony vandalism, misdemeanor trespass by entering and occupying, and misdemeanor trespass by refusing to leave private property.

Charges were dismissed against Ed Rector and Grant Wilson by Judge Burdick in April of 2012, and Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy, both Indybay journalists, had the charges against them dismissed also by Burdick in May of 2012.

The preliminary hearing is set to continue on Tuesday, January 8 at 10am in Dept 6 at the Santa Cruz Courthouse at 701 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

For more information about those charged, see:

Alex Darocy

§Santa Cruz Courthouse

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Support the Santa Cruz Eleven

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Supporters filled the hall in front of Dept 6

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Sgt Harms and Robert Norse

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



Robert Norse hams it up with Sgt Michael Harms of the SCPD. In the background are Officer Winston, Officer Gunter, and Lt Richard, all of the Santa Cruz Police Department.


by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



Desiree Foster (in the blue dress) is seated two rows back from the other defendants.


by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Sgt Michael Harms testifies

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Officer Michael Headley of the SCPD

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Robert Norse and Franklin Alcantara

by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM



by Alex Darocy Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 12:56 AM


§Court Separation

by Alex Darocy ( alex [at] alexdarocy.com ) Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 6:14 AM
I have interviewed several defendants about Desiree Foster sitting in the audience of the court during the preliminary hearings, and it is still unclear to them how it was decided that she sit there. Though she was seated there fully with the judge’s knowledge, I cannot say definitively that it was due to a “mandate,” so I am retracting my use of that word in the comments section of this article, and I am also retracting the statement in the article that she was “forced” to sit in the audience section..

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Keep it Real

Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 8:22 AM

You slant the article by implying that Desiree was forced to sit removed from council, while your photo clearly shows empty seats in the row ahead of her that would have allowed her to sit closer.

Keep it real; the choice was hers.

by Robert Norse

Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 8:45 AM

by Alex Darocy

( alex [at] alexdarocy.com ) Tuesday Jan 8th, 2013 8:52 AM

I intended to focus on the fact that Desiree was separated from her attorney, I believe per court instructions, as one defendant was forced to sit outside in the court room’s audience area. I believe it was a mandate, not a choice.

If you look at my photos, you can tell how far away the audience is from the attorneys, no matter what the seating configuration.

by John E. Colby

Wednesday Jan 9th, 2013 12:34 AM

None of these defendants should ever had to set foot in the courthouse. Their persecution by DA Bob Lee and his prosecutor Rebekah Young is a local disgrace. DA Bob Lee and prosecutor Rebekah Young conspired to deprive the Santa Cruz Eleven of their civil rights under the color of law by abusing their positions of authority.

In addition to setting themselves up for civil lawsuits for color of law violations, I suggest filing color of law complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.

I am willing to assist the Santa Cruz Eleven file color of law complaints with the U.S. Attorney General and the FBI. I have filed civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice before. Done right, this could initiate an investigation which could eventually result in civil and/or criminal penalties for DA Bob Lee and prosecutor Rebekah Young.

DA Bob Lee and prosecutor Rebekah Young must be held accountable for their misdeeds. They are a local disgrace.

by Sum Dim

Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 12:03 AM

Becky on some forum, was commenting on how the defendants were “victimized” by this process. In fact, I think she suggested that the defendants were the “only” victims in all of this. Both her supporters and her detractors were commenting that this ruling was a “victory” for the accused, disagreeing on whether they were happy about that, or whether it made them wish to go throw themselves off the nearest bridge in despair.

I would put it to Becky and all the other participants in this process, on all sides, that the process itself, due process, specifically, has been the saving grace, and the affirmation that much is right in our world. The defendants were no more victims here than were the shareholders of Wells Fargo and whichever Berkshire Hathaway reinsurers actually pay to fix that building. Nor were they victims any more than the citizenry of Santa Cruz are when Robert Norse makes everyone waste $150,000 fighting silly lawsuits over perceived injustices that, as the courts ultimately rule, exist only in his rich imagination.

The defendants received due process in all it’s glory. We should all thank our fellow citizens for the opportunity to live in a society where we can all receive a fair hearing.

In many places in the world, an Occupy movement couldn’t happen, and people like Robert and Becky would be taken out back and summarily executed. Not only does that not happen in America, but they receive a fair shake every time they go to court. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. But every time, justice is served.

Let us all give thanks for that. And congratulate them on their acquittal today.

by Linda Lemaster

Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 8:30 AM

Dim Sum, I am personally sympathetic with your view of justice. And truly am grateful we still have relative freedom, and the right to defend ourselves against our accusers in some degree in this Country, not so for most of humanity.

But, when you suggest Due Process is working, could you define “due”? I have become alarmed at the rate of compromise and outright neglect gearing California’s courts.

Like our roads, “Lady Justice” has really taken a series of direct hits, and has not had the upkeep and systems management required for an infrastructure to keep pace with increases in demand. Not just population bubbles; also the monolithic growth of demand for legal answers in a field of (i believe) accelerated economic and cultural changes.

by Sum Dim

Thursday Jan 10th, 2013 2:47 PM

Linda, before I begin, I am Sum, of the Leicstershire branch of the Dim family, and not Dim, of the famous Sum family from Gangnam, South Korea.

No worries. It’s a common mistake.

I’m not sure how, directly, to answer your question, but I get the impression that the thrust of your query is that you feel that the defendants didn’t receive their fair share of justice; that is to say that they were owed more justice than they received.

As I indicated, I feel that this process has affirmed that much, but not all, is right in our society. One could quarrel over the imperfection of the system, and to what extent the quality of justice is strain’d. However, the fact that the system produced the result it did, does in itself give the lie to the popular refrain on this site that we are living in a police state, and that our civic leaders and judiciary are akin to Nazis and fascists. Can you recall a police state in which the police were told to stuff it, and the state’s prosecutors were fined for failure to comply with an evidentiary process? Of course not. In a police state, justice would have been meted out at the point of a gun, within an hour or two of that OccuDome thing being erected.

So, while Robert and Becky have won this battle, in a sense, in so doing, they have lost the bigger argument, which is over their claim that the system is incapable of justice.

Stalin didn’t allow people to wear bathrobes in his halls of government. Robert wouldn’t make it very long in an actual Stalinist state. People have died on battlefields in faraway places so that people like he and Becky Johnson can behave the way they do. This is a noble and a necessary thing in the furtherance of freedom. This terrible price, and the other expenditures associated with the machinery of keeping a free society functioning freely, such as police and courts, prosecutors and public defenders, are what we accept as the price of our freedom. It’s worth remembering that its isn’t free. Quite conversely, it is extraordinarily dear. It’s a pay-to-play system, and when one engages it in the manner of the Santa Cruz Eleven (or Seven, or Four…), then one must be prepared to also bear the costs of seeking justice.

So, I’ve no sympathy for the defendants here, but I also have no sympathy for the police or the prosecution, who were either wrong, or incompetent. The only person I feel sorry for is Burdick, who must’ve been really exasperated at this enormous waste of his time.

I’ll say again though, that the winners here are all of us, and the prize is our imperfect freedoms, for which we should all give thanks.

by John E. Colby

Friday Jan 11th, 2013 3:31 AM

Sum: you conflate two kinds of oppressive political systems with each other. Stalinism is one end of the control spectrum. The other end is the society employing the “Iron Cage” employed in Western Capitalist societies. In some ways the Soviets had more freedom because they had no illusions about the control matrix they lived inside.

Here is some reading for you Sum:

Max Weber described the bureaucratization of social order as “the polar night of icy darkness”.


I also recommend Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom:


Santa Cruz 11 Benefit

Published on December 27, 2012 in News

Show community support for the Santa Cruz Eleven at a benefit on Sunday, January 6, 2013, at India Joze in downtown Santa Cruz starting at 3:30 p.m.

Enjoy a delicious plate of India Joze food, listen to local musicians and support The Santa Cruz Eleven, seven of whom still face charges arising from their alleged involvement with the occupation of a long-time vacant bank building late last fall, 2011. $10 – $15 suggested donation, No one turned away.

The defendants would also love to see you at their preliminary hearing, scheduled Monday, January 7th, 9:00 a.m. in Department 6 of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse.


Defendants are still charged with (1) felony conspiracy to commit vandalism and/or trespass, (2) felony vandalism, (3) misdemeanor trespass by entering and occupying, and (4) misdemeanor trespass by refusing to leave private property.

As economic disparity increases, Santa Cruz County continues spending money to prosecute people who bring these issues to the foreground. Check out the SantaCruzEleven.org website for more information.

India Joze is located at 418 Front Street across from the Metro Center.

Spread the word!

Judge Burdick issues sanctions against DA’s office

Becky Johnson: One Woman Talking

October 10, 2012

Original Post

Banner from a rally held by the Brown Berets of Watsonville
in support of the Santa Cruz Eleven. 
Photo by Becky Johnson May 4, 2012

by Becky Johnson
Oct 9 2012

Santa Cruz, Ca. — I went to court this morning. There was much confusion. At my August 20th hearing, I had thought that only Franklin “Angel” Alcantara and Cameron Larendeau were required to be at this hearing. But my lawyer called me yesterday, apologized for not being able to come to the hearing himself, and told me one of the other attorneys had agreed to appear on my behalf.

When I got to court, only Angel and Cameron’s names were on the court docket. Wonderful. Someone screwed up again, I thought. I wonder who.

They call our case “The Occupy Case” which is ironic, considering all the arguments that went back and forth to disassociate the 75 River Street Occupation of a long, empty bank building from Occupy Santa Cruz and its encampment in San Lorenzo Park. In the end, OSC stood up and formed a working group to provide support to the Santa Cruz Eleven as we came to be called.

In my own case, I had a lot to do with the encampment in San Lorenzo Park and very little to do with the 75 River Street building takeover, but this case is not about facts and evidence.

We are now down to seven defendants. Bradley Stuart Allen, Alex Darocy, Grant Wilson, and Ed Rector have all had their charges dismissed due to lack of evidence against them. Judge Burdick had also found the case against Cameron and Angel to be lacking evidence, but ADA Rebekah Young refiled against them.  This hearing had been scheduled by Cameron’s attorney, Briggs, and Angel’s attorney Ruben.  But Ruben wasn’t there. Nor was Briggs. Lisa McCaney, appearing on their behalf asked Young “Where is the additional evidence that you said you had to refile charges against my client?” A photograph referred to in a police report has still not been produced.

Young replied that she had been “confused” as to which motion would be resolved that day. She wasn’t the only one!  Burdick had sharp words for Ms. Young.

“Its my understanding that I’ll be ruling on her motion independent of any discovery violations under discussion. Violations of due process and the procedural morass that has brought us to this point.”
This “point” being ten months into the legal process, eight months after sheriff’s came to my home and arrested me while I was cooking pancakes, and still two more months to go just to get to my preliminary hearing. And I am eager to get to that point too, where I believe I will too be able to dispense with the specious charges against me. You see, the DA has no case against me.

“I apologize. I’m not prepared to argue her motion.” What else is new in this case?

“The people here have a right to a preliminary hearing, not an additional discussion and no new facts,” Burdick told her.

“Your honor, I believed the two sole witnesses at the preliminary hearing to be sufficient.”

“She says she has additional witnesses who can identify Mr. Alcantara and Mr. Larandeau but none have been forthcoming,” McCaney charged.

“Work has been extremely sloppy and we don’t have viable opposition papers.” But then inexplicably he said “I’m going to deny the motion to dismiss.”

Burdick asked if there were any other discovery issues. Attorneys complained about an empty file on one of the disks, but Young insisted that that was how the file came from the SCPD. None of the attorneys mentioned that the videos released many months ago did not have soundtracks, but now, on videos released August 20th, the sound was back but without explanation. Of course this meant the attorneys (and defendants) must now go back and watch over 25 hours of videotape again in order to LISTEN to the dialogue of police engaged in while recording to see if there is more evidence there.

Hackett, appearing on behalf of Norse’s attorney David Beauvais said that Beauvais had repeatedly requested for procedural manuals on instructions for police on crowd control, use of tear gas, and their policy concerning 1st amendment issues.

Young answered that the SCPD “has no first amendment policy.” Burdick seemed puzzled by this. “There must be some manual or procedures for crowd control and the use of chemical agents.”

Should it be achieved by subpoena? one of the defense attorneys quipped.

Burdick ignored this and just instructed Young to “look for those.”

Then Burdick announced that he had contemplated what the appropriate sanctions against the DA’s office should be springing from his statement on August 20th. He ruled that the sanctions would be to bill the DA’s office for additional expenses that out of county attorneys only had when they were required to come to attend additional hearings due to Young’s failures to provide discovery in a timely or forthright manner. There would be no relief for defendants dragged to every hearing on threat of arrest, missing work, school, time with loved ones and incurring costs.  Attorneys are paid, defendants are not.

The remaining defendants face a preliminary hearing on January 7th at 9AM in Dept 6. A readiness hearing is scheduled for January 4th also at 9AM.


In other cases, Linda Lemaster’s 647 ( e) “lodging” trial launches October 15th at 9AM in Dept 1 before Judge Rebecca Connolly. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 8:30AM in Dept 1 Oct 10th. Both cases will be heard at Santa Cruz Superior Court, 701 Ocean St. Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060